Delta testing is user testing automation. At a tactical level, delta testing means:
- identifying users from your target market
- getting them to use and provide feedback about your product
- prioritizing those insights, and
- turning them into action items for Product and Engineering.
It's a highly effective strategy for product success. But without automation technology, that work takes an enormous amount of time and effort — one that even skilled resources and repeatable processes alone aren't enough to keep up with
Why Automation is Essential to Delta Testing
In the same way that QA and other testing disciplines use automation to match the pace of rapid development, delta testing relies on automation to increase the speed and bandwidth of testing while reducing friction for three parties: test managers, testers, and stakeholders.
Reducing Friction for Test Managers
User testing has a lot of moving parts, from recruiting testers and maintaining engagement, to prioritizing feedback and managing stakeholders. Understandably, completing all these activities takes an incredible amount of time and bandwidth. Without automation, all of that friction adds up, decreasing test managers' ability to deliver user testing value and spread the benefits of your program across the organization.
Reducing Friction for Testers
Making things easy for your testers is the only way to guarantee you’ll get the feedback you need during your projects. If testers don’t understand what they need to do and when they need to do it, or if they feel like it’s too difficult and time-consuming to provide their feedback, they won't, period.
Providing testers with a frictionless experience is a key focus of delta testing. It hinges on automation and other platform features that make it easy for testers to follow instructions, provide feedback, and communicate with project admins, without creating additional work for test managers.
Reducing Friction for Stakeholders
User testing delivers a host of accurate and insightful product recommendations. But if your stakeholders never see them (or get them too late), they won't do anyone any good. That's why it's critical to make user testing deliverables both accessible and visible to stakeholders. Delta testing reduces friction in this area through reporting automation.
In addition to prioritizing insights based on what's most impactful to your product, reporting automation makes the right data available to the right stakeholders in real-time. This means Engineering and QA have a list of top issues that need to be fixed. Ideas and feature suggestions are easily accessible for product teams as they build out the backlog. And praise for features and positive product experiences gets ferried to Sales and Marketing to hone messaging and enhance product-market fit.
Critical Tool Requirements for Your Delta Programs
Delta testing brings all user testing processes and data together in one place. This reduces friction, increases internal adoption, and allows test managers to focus on making impactful product improvements.
In order to eliminate wide swaths of the work involved with managing user testing projects and generating prioritized results, your delta testing tool needs targeted functionalities. Here's a brief summary of the features that are critical to delta test success.
Prescriptive planning and increased visibility make it easy to start and keep user testing projects on course. Project automation features include guided planning, templates, and real-time insights.
Your platform should provide features for building and managing the thriving user community necessary for delta testing. These features include tester profiles capabilities, automated nurturing, and metrics that promote growth and visibility.
Delta testing tools place a special emphasis on recruitment and onboarding features, like filters and segmentation, qualification screening, automated onboarding, and digital agreement signing.
Probably the biggest time-saver in your delta testing tool, feedback automation brings organization and management at scale. Ideal features include feedback sorting and prioritization, feedback enrichment (like deduplication and collaborative capabilities), triage workflows, and the ability to integrate with ticketing tools like Jira.
Maintaining high engagement depends on constant, consistent communication. Delta testing platforms offer a straightforward user experience that helps testers stay on task while dramatically reducing the workload on test managers. Features include a machine learning-powered engagement automation agent, structured feedback forms, auto-generated surveys, integrations that allow testers to submit feedback inside the product, and a mobile app for easy access to the platform.
Reporting and Analytics
Delta testing platforms use dashboards, scores, and auto-distributed reports to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to user testing. This includes holistic dashboards with drill-down capabilities that monitor incoming feedback, calculate project success, and automatically measure the impact of delta testing feedback on product performance.
Privacy, Security, and Infrastructure
To handle testing data responsibly, delta testing platforms provide features like the agreement center, PII fields, user permissions, and SSO to ensure your testers’ privacy and your own data security.
Embracing a Frictionless Experience
The big takeaway: Delta testing is driven by technology to bring all the benefits of real-world user feedback to your product throughout its entire life cycle. It's an entirely different animal from generic productivity tools and point solutions that address a single aspect of the testing process.
By centralizing tasks and insights into a single system, the friction of executing user tests disappears, leaving room for modern organizations to perfect products, increase bottom lines, and delight customers.
Dig deeper into the role automation technology plays in delta testing, including a more detailed rundown of features and functionalities that drive success, in our ebook, The Role of Technology in Delta Testing.